This year, Tampere Film Festival plunges deep into the world of animation. The animation marathon starts with a Ngo Mahn Lan retrospective, the oldest film dating back to 1965. The retrospective touches upon a variety of themes from ancient warrior myths strengthening national unity to everyday phenomena in domestic environments. The gem of the screening is the epic The Legend of Giong Hero (1971) that was awarded the Golden Dove in Leipzig in 1971 and the Golden Lotus in Vietnam in 1973.
Finland's neighbouring country Sweden is contributing to the festival programme with a worldwide rarity: a collection of Captain Grogg animations from 1916–1922 by Victor Bergdahl. The screening includes Captain Grogg and Kalle at the Darkies Ball (1917), a film banned in Finland in 1917, and Bergdahl's first film The Demon Drink (1915) that serves as a prelude to the medley of Grogg animations.
More recent animation is served in the Finnish premiere of Idiots and Angels (2008) by the American Bill Plympton. In this film tinged with black humour, the protagonist Angel wakes up one day with a mysterious pair of wings on his back and has to perform good deeds contrary to his nature. The screening opens with a short film Hot Dog (2008) featuring a tragicomical hero familiar from Plympton's earlier dog animations.
Pavel Koutský retrospective offers skillful metamorphoses from one form into another as well as storytelling on different levels and using different techniques. Koutskýs fiery dozen includes, for example, the film Curriculum vitae (1986) that won the Golden Bear in Berlin and the best animation award in the international competition at Tampere Film Festival in 1987. The maestro of Czech animation combines enthusiastic intelligence and cutting humour in his works which also reflect the social criticism typical of Eastern European animation.
The Festival programme also boasts a wide range of Brazilian contemporary animation. Brazilian UG offers a cross section of Brazilian animation representing a variety of themes and techniques. The latter screening also features Tyger (2002) by Guilherme Marcondes, a film that took home the Tampere Film Festival's Kiss for the best animation in 2007. The Brazilian UG screenings have been composed by the coordinator of Múmia Festival, Sávio Leite, whose new animation Earth (2008) participates in the international competition this year.
Competition screenings feature numerous other animations, too. Nick Park's latest film to star the characters Wallace and Gromit, The Matter of Loaf and Death (2008), takes part in the international competition, and the Finnish competition in the category of films under 30 minutes is flooded with animations from Turku.
Vietnam. Now!With the director Ngo Manh Lan with Ngo Phuong Lan, Lai Van Sinh, Bui Kim Quy and Luu Van Thao.Werstas auditorium, Thursday 5 March, 12:00
Anarchy in animationWith Pavel Koutský (Checzh Republic), Sávio Leite (Brazil), CHRZU (Finland), and Simo Ruotsalainen and Niina Suominen from Turun Anikistit. Chairman Tatu Pohjavirta.Werstas auditorium, Friday 6 March, 16:00